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UK Life League and scare tactics

This afternoon, I have opened my inbox to be greeted by a one-line email from the UK Life League, an anti-abortion group, presumably in response to things I have written on the subject previously. This is the group of which one member was jailed last month for mailing anti-abortion literature to NHS practitioners. It read:

Simon, this is abortion.

Attached were two photographs of aborted foetuses, clearly intended to be disturbing. I won’t reproduce them here, not because I shy away from the reality of abortion, merely because I wouldn’t carry images of any surgery both out of respect for the patient and on grounds of taste and decency. This site is not the place for images like that.

I have also chosen in this post not too link to their website, though it is easy enough to find, as they seem to employ scare tactics to prevent people from having abortions. If a woman is considering aborting a foetus, she surely deserves to hear reasoned, factual arguments for and against. I don’t begin to claim that all women do hear this as a matter of course – even though I strongly believe they should – but they’re not going to find such a debate on the website of the UK Life League anyway.

People are entitled to their own beliefs in this area. I’ve made my views known on here in the past, and I’ve made it known that I have no problem with others’ opinions. I do have a problem with people forcing their opinions on others, as it appears this group have attempted to do with me.

My reply?

Thanks for that.

As someone in medicine myself, I have seen abortion. I know it’s not pleasant. It certainly isn’t legally murder, whether or not it’s morally murder is not for me to dictate. I’m happy for people to have their own views – you’re clearly antiabortion, and I hold no problem with that point of view. Why do you hold a problem with me having the opposing view?

And if it’s a moral argument you have, then when do you feel it appropriate to send unsolicited images of abortion to people whose background you do not know? Would you send pictures of decapitated murder victims to those opposing legislation banning the sale of knives? Or images of sexually abused children to those opposing mandatory life sentences for paedophiles? Or images of surgery in frank detail to those undergoing tumour removals?

I agree with your point that abortion on demand shouldn’t be carried out under the guise of protecting the mental health of the mother. That is not how the legislation was intended to be interpreted, and I guess from that point of view, it is bad legislation.

This kind of action, however, merely weakens your arguments by making you look radicalised and unmeasured in your actions. When you’re ready to have a reasoned debate, I will be ready to listen – if not necessarily agree.

Regards,

Simon

Update: 28th June 2006
They’ve replied!

You miss the point, UK LifeLeague is not interested in reasoned debate. Abortion is wrong. We have seen some of your comment on your blog regarding abortion. If this is what you mean by reasoned debate then you can keep it.

Killing baby’s and those who support such barbarism are beyond reasoning with.

They don’t want a debate, they just want their way. They can’t even pluralise ‘baby’ without error. I hate to say it, but I don’t hold out much hope for their cause.

This 891st post was filed under: News and Comment.

World’s second richest man gives it all away

Warren BuffettWarren Buffett is to donate £20bn, 85% of his personal fortune, to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. That is, in a word, incredible.

This move will doubtless be criticised by some, who will claim that it’s easy for someone rich to give away vast amounts of money, especially when you’ll be left with £3bn in the bank anyway. That’s not really true, as evidence by the fact that those of lower income give a greater percentage of said income to charity than those with a higher income, and by the way Bono and Bob Geldof implore us to donate money to charity whilst sitting on £108m and £30m fortunes themselves. Warren Buffett hasn’t done this: He’s actually donated his own money – most of his own money – to a cause he believes in.

It won’t stop anti-capitalist campaigners from saying he’s only doing it as a guilt-releiving exercise, but that’s their problem.

As far as I’m concerned, good on him.

This 890th post was filed under: News and Comment.

Correction: Miliblog did not cost £6,000

David Miliband, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural AffairsI’d like to make an apology. Back in April, I claimed that David Miliband had spent £6,000 setting up a blog on the ODPM website. New facts – directly from the horse’s mouth, so-to-speak – have now come to light, and I’d like to apologise for the error.

In fact, the first year of Mr Miliband’s blogging efforts has cost the taxpayer £8,150.

That’s £6,000 initial set-up costs, £1,250 to change the ODPM JPEG to a Defra one, and then a further £900 annual running costs. On top of this, some poor dogsbody civil servant is paid an unspecified amount to spend an unspecified length of time

posting blogs and comments

Yes, it would appear that a civil servant is paid to comment on the blog. Which, in my mind at least, rather defeats the purpose.

Mr Miliband pays someone to write his blog, and then pays someone to leave comments that presumably toe the party line. A great service to democracy, and all for £8,150 plus wages.

Bargain.

This 889th post was filed under: News and Comment.

FactCheck’s back

FactCheck

FactCheck, Channel 4’s despinning, debunking, delightful website crafted to help with coverage of the General Election and inspited by the US’s factcheck.org, is back after a 14 month hiatus. Here’s what I said when it launched first time around:

This is an excellent idea – an independent website which will check the facts spouted by the politicians between now and the general election. Perhaps it will encourage our party leaders to be more honest in their speeches, instead of making false claims in order to scare voters into voting for them above the opposition parties. Perhaps it will mean that the leaders can no longer hide from the truth about their past performance behind some dodgily compiled selective statistics. Perhaps it will even stop the politicians from telling outright lies.

Of course, it never actually did any of those things, but it was still fun to read, and hence got a reasonable amount of coverage on this blog. My only complaint thus far is that the logo’s been replaced with an uninspiring red box with the Channel 4 font surrounded by compression artefacts (see picture), and each article is split over several pages. A disappointment. But the actual content still seems to be up-to-scratch.

I, for one, am glad to see it back.

This 888th post was filed under: Media, News and Comment, Politics.


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